Ballon d'Or 2014: Luis Suarez omitted from 23-man shortlist as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale all included

Five players from the Premier League are included but there is not one Englishman included for the second year running

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The Independent Online

Barcelona's former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been omitted from Fifa's 23-man list of contenders for the Ballon d'Or award.

The list, which will be whittled down to the one player deemed to be the world's best, has no Englishmen but five Premier League players on it, though there is no place for the division's leading scorer from last season.

Twenty-seven-year-old Suarez scored 31 goals for Liverpool as they narrowly missed out on the English title, but his season ended in controversy after he bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini while playing for Uruguay at the World Cup.

He was served with a fourth-month ban by Fifa as a consequence - a suspension which ended when he made his Barcelona debut against Real Madrid on Saturday - and but for that he would surely have made the list and been a strong contender.

 

As it is Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his old foe and the current Ballon D'or holder Cristiano Ronaldo are sure to battle it out once more.

Ronaldo's stunning form in 2014 puts him down as the clear favourite - he guided Real Madrid to the Champions League title in May and has 21 goals in 14 appearances so far this season.

Real Madrid team-mate and Wales forward Gareth Bale makes the list, with the Premier League representation made up of three players from Chelsea, one from Manchester City and one from Manchester United.

Of that quintet, though, only two were playing in the Premier League last season. Chelsea pair Thibaut Courtois and Diego Costa were at Atletico Madrid, while Manchester United's Angel di Maria was with Ronaldo at Real. Eden Hazard of Chelsea and Manchester City's Yaya Toure are also nominated.

World Cup winners Germany have six players on the list - the most from any nation.

The 23-man list will be whittled down to three on December 1, with the winner announced in Zurich on January 12.

Also named are the nominees for coach of the year, with Manchester City's title-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini and Chelsea's Jose Mourinho amongst the 10.

Ballon d'Or shortlist: Gareth Bale (Wales), Karim Benzema (France), Diego Costa (Spain), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Angel Di Maria (Argentina), Mario Goetze (Germany), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Toni Kroos (Germany), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Mueller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Paul Pogba (France), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Yaya Toure (Cote d'Ivoire).

Coach of the year shortlist: Carlo Ancelotti (Italy/Real Madrid CF), Antonio Conte (Italy/Juventus FC/Italy national team), Pep Guardiola (Spain/FC Bayern Munich), Juergen Klinsmann (Germany/ USA national team), Joachim Loew (Germany/Germany national team), Jose Mourinho (Portugal/Chelsea FC), Manuel Pellegrini (Chile/Manchester City FC), Alejandro Sabella (Argentina/Argentina national team), Diego Simeone (Argentina/Atletico Madrid), Louis van Gaal (Netherlands/Netherlands national team/Manchester United FC).

PA

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